The hotter it gets above ground the cooler we are keeping it in the cave. We are celebrating the 9th birthday of Bluegrass Underground this month. They say “time flies when you’re having fun” and with this much good music it’s hard not to have fun. Join us this month to celebrate. This Saturday, Aug. 12th we feature the great Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, we only have a few tickets left.
Aug. 26, we go from the hilarious sounds of the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band to the hauntingly beautiful, Maura O’Connell, the premier Irish singer of our time, as she makes her Bluegrass Undergrounddebut. She’s been in Nashville for many years, but rarely performs locally, so this appearance is a real treat. From traditional Irish airs like “Down By the Sally Gardens” to her contemporary signature songs “Summerfly” and Nanci Griffiths’ “Trouble In the Fields,” O’Connell is a singer’s singer, technically flawless, but with a rich emotional core that is genuinely breathtaking. She’s also funny as hell.
Starting the day, it’s the return of The Celtic Sojourners, a band that bridges Music City and the Emerald Isle, playing a mix of traditional Irish music, bluegrass, country, and original songs. That band was born out of our sister show, Music City Roots, and its annual visit to – and broadcast from – Belfast. On one of those trips, producer Todd Mayo met and fell in love with one of that legendarily musical city’s finest singer-songwriters, Emma Reid, She now makes her home in Nashville. and the couple just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. The Sojourners are all current or formerly professional musicians who are now part of the Bluegrass Underground team, including singer/fiddler Stephanie Taylor, who has toured with Patty Loveless, among others; guitarist Griffin Winton; mandolinist Joe Lurgio and myself on upright bass. We’ll open the show at 1 p.m.
This month we’ll also be sharing some big news, as
Bluegrass Underground, the PBS TV series, readies its seventh season. Premiering in September throughout the United States, BGU VII presents everything from the hardcore bluegrass of Rhonda Vincent & the Rage and Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out to the jam-rock of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Blues Traveler to the classic Memphis soul of Don Bryant and a lot more. So tune us in at home as BGU VI wraps up and BGU VII gears up.
But nothing beats that walk in the woods down to the cave mouth, being met by an exhilarating rush of refreshingly cold air as you leave behind a steamy August day on the Cumberland Plateau for the welcoming cool and dark cave. I still get several kinds of chills every time I take that trip. Get your tickets today!
It’s always a great, cool day underground. Come see, hear – and feel – for yourself.
– Larry Nager